CLEVELAND — The hope is the quietest part of the West Side Market may soon be the trendiest.
A proposal for transformation of the Cleveland landmark's produce arcade has officially been submitted to market officials.
The Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen and 501C3 organization have proposed a farmer's market setting inside the current produce arcade, which has recently seen a drop in vendors.
According to community developer Alan Glazen, the transformed produce arcade, called "Makers and Farmers Hall," will be run by a non-profit organization and will showcase all locally grown and made products.
The arcade's current linear design will be transformed into a more open space, with tables, benches and chairs for those who want to sit and enjoy their food. Glazen says there will also be floating kiosks, displays and sampling stations.
"The market has not kept up with the times," Glazen told Channel 3. "Our vision is that you'd have wandering experiences. Kiosks of bagels and pickles and bloody-mary mixes."
Unlike the model used by most vendors at the market, inside the Makers and Farmers Hall vendors wouldn't themselves man a booth or take customer cash. They would deliver their goods to the market and one cashier would transact most the business.
"It's the complete foodie experience in an area that now largely sits empty," Glazen said.
Pickle-makers, kraut vendors, even bloody-mary mix makers are eager to jump in according to Eric Diamond of the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen.
"The city has vacant store space that's not generating rent, and we would offer stable rent from one organization -- and we'll take care of operating the rest of it."
He and Glazen are helping spearhead the program, but would not take a penny from the project.
"This should be a Mecca," Glazen says. "The way it looks right now -- this is not a Mecca."
The project has received support from West Side Market manager Felicia Hall, Cleveland Councilman Kerry McCormack and West Side Market board member Jim Traynor, according to Glazen.
See renderings of the proposed transformation below: